Every one of us knows their own struggles so far. Maybe it’s crash dieting too often, the temptation of trying every new diet, maybe it’s the sweet tooth, the fact that we love to cook, to go out to restaurants and fancy pastry shops, the fact that we like to travel and try all the local foods, and so on.
And during this time of isolation because of coronavirus, eating healthy and sticking to an exercise routine that will keep you fit might seem even more difficult. Especially if you add the constraints on top of what you already consider to be bad habits.
But these habits don’t have to be all negative. It takes a minimum effort of reframing them to realise that they can be the basis of a turnaround or of a new habit.
Here are a few habits that might seem, at a first glance, damaging to your nutrition and wellness during this time of quarantine, and some ways to make them work in your favour. Because there’s a silver lining to each of them.
A lot of the people that I work with as a food coach tell me “I’ve tried everything”. They make it sound like the worst habit possible – falling for every fad diet and making experiments on their health. But I see it as proof of resilience. Someone who’s fallen and got up so many times is more likely to show commitment to a plan. Maybe all they need is just a bit of support.
So if you’ve been dieting on and off and you feel that this isolation thing came in the worst possible moment, you should realise that you have enough resilience to get through this.
Time to decide what you’ll be resilient about.
Loving to cook
Another habit that some consider not that diet friendly is the passion for cooking. But now, more than ever, is the time to use that skill to a maximum. You’ll be able to control your meals, portions, ingredients, and also plan your groceries to last you as much as possible.
And pleeease, in the name of a healthier generation of little boys and girls who will become men and women and live with their spouses – please include them in the kitchen chores. Or at least keep them around, give them the brownie bowl to lick the leftover dough. Help them create the sweet memories that you have from your own childhood.
If your hobby was to hit the gym 10 times a week, you might be in a deep black sorrow.
There’s nothing else to do but use the same time and energy to train at home. You might not have all the gear and machines, you might not have a running track, but there are ways to keep training with zero gear. And it’s much better than nothing.
And keeping the habit of spending the same number of hours exercising every day will keep your mind from blowing up, by giving you a real sense of control.
Easily addicted, easy to make new habits
Let’s say that you used to get really hooked up on every little routine you started, such as planning to go to the cinema twice a week after you saw a movie that you liked. Or wanting to have a bottle of coke every day after you had the first in a long time.
This means that you have real habit building qualities that you can use. Decide what would be a good habit to start now, something that would make you feel more optimistic, energised, and who knows – maybe even something that will make a difference on the long term.
You used to go out to cafes and restaurants. You can’t anymore. Turn this into a positive thing by ordering coffee for home from local cafes, lunches from the restaurants that you used to love, products from the local grocery shops.
They need your orders to survive.
Cooking for the entire family
One of the constraints of this period might me the fact that you have to cook for the entire family. Remember it’s not a sin to eat differently. After all, you don’t have your kids’ metabolism anymore.
So if your kids want you baking sweets all day long, there are some ways to manage that without going on a sugar rush. This can be a positive thing, too. You can start making some healthier version of those sweets, and even better: share the sweets with your family, friends, or even neighbours who have less. Use a delivery service or find a way to send them a few slices of that banana bread you’ve been baking and spread the joy while keeping your own nutrition on point.
What you consider damaging habits must have a silver lining. And constraints can actually turn into positive things.
But it takes some peace of mind to think about them during these anxiety filled days, and maybe some support from someone close or someone you trust, to keep you going the right way.
So just take a moment to disconnect and think about how you can come out of this stronger, fitter, and with top level cooking skills.